Adolph Diesterweg

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Adolph Diesterweg

Friedrich Adolph Wilhelm Diesterweg (born October 29, 1790 in Siegen , † July 7, 1866 in Berlin ) was a German educator.


Since May 1808 Diesterweg studied "philosophical disciplines" at the High School in Herborn - apart from the usually preparatory philosophical and philological studies, these were pedagogy, mathematics and natural history. When his brother Wilhelm was in Mannheim, Adolph Diesterweg came to Heidelberg on April 26, 1809. He probably didn't study there. On October 26, 1809, he enrolled at the Eberhard Karls University in Tübingen for mathematics. He immediately joined the (Lower) Swabian Landsmannschaft - Corps Suevia I (Inferior) founded in January 1807.

Professional development and significance for the education system

Diesterweg was a home and grammar school teacher in Worms and Mannheim from 1811 to 1813 , in Frankfurt am Main from 1813 to 1818 , then until 1820 second rector at the Elberfeld Latin School , where he made the formative acquaintance with Johann Friedrich Wilberg (1766-1846), from 1820 head of the teachers' college in Moers and from 1832 to 1847 in Berlin . He was committed to improving the elementary school and advocated improved pedagogical education and the social recognition of elementary school teachers. As a supporter of Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi and the disseminator of his ideas , he represented point of view and independent activity as didactic principles. However, he gave these principles a political tint through the goal he had set for the development of a responsible and critical citizen. For Diesterweg, popular education took on the character of people's liberation. In terms of content, Diesterweg broke away from the local history-oriented visual didactics by calling for a world history expanded to include astronomical topics. In 1827 he founded the Rheinische Blätter for education and instruction , and in 1840 his Popular Celestial Science, which was later reissued and revised several times, appeared for the first time .

In addition to his educational work, Diesterweg was also involved in social policy. In 1844 he made important suggestions for founding the Centralverein for the welfare of the working classes . Linked to liberalism , he turned against both a strong ecclesiastical and political influence on education in school policy . He called for a pedagogical-technical (and no longer spiritual ) school supervision and a uniform school organization, that is, he wanted to achieve a professionalization of the teaching profession . He also fought for the relative autonomy of the school vis-à-vis social powers. He owes his great influence on the teaching staff at that time primarily to his magazine Rheinische Blätter for Education and Teaching , which he published from 1827, but also to his yearbook for teacher and school friends from 1851.

For political reasons, Diesterweg was dismissed from civil service in 1850 and retired. From 1850 onwards, he visited the famous pedagogue Friedrich Fröbel several times until his death in 1852 in the Marienthaler Schlösschen near Bad Liebenstein . From 1858 to 1866 Diesterweg fought as a member of the German Progressive Party in the Prussian House of Representatives against Raumer-Stiehl's regulations . At the age of 75 he succumbed to cholera . His youngest son Moritz Diesterweg founded the Moritz Diesterweg publishing house .

Significance for reform pedagogy

Winfried Böhm explains in his history of pedagogy that “the idea of a“ natural ”or“ natural ” upbringing in the sense of accompanying support for natural maturation and growth processes is pedagogically thought through and conceptualized , especially at Diesterweg ”. With this, Diesterweg, according to Böhm, “ anticipated many of the basic ideas and theses of later reform pedagogy by almost a hundred years. In the controversy about naturalism or supranaturalism , pedagogy or church doctrine , which was fierce around 1820, he takes a massive stand in favor of naturalism. ”As a decisive argument for naturalism, Diesterweg gives the following:

"While pedagogical supranaturalism - blinded by the Christian doctrine of original sin and the negative image of mankind of Pietism - kinks human nature instead of developing it 'and' condemns the child to passivity instead of developing self-activity ', naturalism' proceeds from the child ' and takes their natural inclinations, interests and needs as a pedagogical standard: Do not subject the child to an external order, rather let it unfold freely and develop spontaneously, becomes the pedagogical maxim par excellence. "

- Diesterweg's diary 1818–1822, ed. by HG Bluth, 1956


Diesterweg wrote 50 books and published 400 papers . He wrote several reviews and with his publications aimed at personal responsibility , criticism and cosmopolitan thinking.


Diesterweg was buried in the old St.-Matthäus-Kirchhof in Berlin-Schöneberg in field J, JS-001/002. The grave was cared for until 2010 as an honorary grave of the State of Berlin , in whose care it had been since 1952. A senate resolution had previously limited the originally unlimited honorary grave status. Since then there has been a private grave sponsorship for Diesterweg's resting place. Many schools, for example in Werdau, Bielefeld and Frankfurt am Main, streets and institutions as well as the public observatory Adolph Diesterweg in Radebeul were named after him. Both the Deutsche Bundespost Berlin and the Deutsche Post (GDR) issued a special postage stamp for Diesterweg's 200th birthday in 1990.

The first educational grant for families in Germany is called the “Diesterweg grant for children and their parents”. It was initiated by the Polytechnic Society Foundation in 2008 and carried out in Frankfurt am Main, Darmstadt, Dortmund, Duisburg, Hamburg, Hanover, Kirn, Offenbach am Main and Osnabrück in mid-2016. In 1816 Diesterweg was one of the founders of the Frankfurt Polytechnic Society .


  • Practical arithmetic book for elementary and higher public schools. Elberfeld, Büschler 1828 ( digitized edition of the University and State Library Düsseldorf )
  • About the ruin at the German universities. Bädeker, Essen 1836. ( Digitized and full text in the German text archive )
  • Selected Writings. 4 volumes. Edited by E. Langenberg. 1876-1878
  • Writings and speeches in 2 volumes. Edited by Heinrich Deiters . Berlin 1950.
  • Popular education as general human education. Selected educational, socio-political and educational writings and speeches in two volumes. Introduced, selected and explained by Gert Geißler and Karl-Heinz Günther. GDR edition: With a foreword by Gerhart Neuner. People and knowledge Volkseigener Verlag, Berlin-Ost 1989. FRG edition: With a foreword by Bruno H. Reifenrath. Moritz Diesterweg publishing house, Frankfurt am Main 1989.
  • Guide to education for German teachers. Edited and published by FAW Diesterweg. 4th edition. Bädeker, Essen 1850–1851.
  • 6th edition: As an anniversary edition for Diesterweg's centenary birthday on October 29, 1890, edited and edited by Karl Richter . With the portrait of Diesterweg in copper engraving. Diesterweg, Frankfurt am Main 1890.


  • Rainer Assmann : Adolph Diesterweg as a student . Once and Now, Yearbook of the Association for Corps Student History Research, Vol. 37 (1992), pp. 250-260.
  • Winfried Böhm , Wilhelm Hehlmann : Dictionary of pedagogy. Kröner, 2006, ISBN 3-520-09415-0 .
  • Andreas W. Daum : Science popularization in the 19th century. Civil culture, scientific education and the German public, 1848–1914 . 2nd, supplementary edition, Oldenbourg, Munich 2002, ISBN 978-3-486-56551-5
  • Karl Dienst : Friedrich Adolph Wilhelm Diesterweg (1790–1866). In: Henning Schröer, Dietrich Zilleßen (Hrsg.): Classics of religious education. Frankfurt am Main 1989, ISBN 3-425-07711-2 , pp. 135ff.
  • Juliane Eckhardt with the assistance of Dieter Schiewe: Diesterweg, Friedrich Adolf Wilhelm. In: Christoph König (Ed.), With the assistance of Birgit Wägenbaur u. a .: Internationales Germanistenlexikon 1800–1950 . Volume 1: A-G. De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2003, ISBN 3-11-015485-4 , pp. 388–390 (also as CD-ROM edition) ( limited preview in Google book search).
  • Gert Geissler, Horst F. Rupp: Diesterweg between research and myth. Texts and documents on the history of research. Luchterhand Verlag, Neuwied / Kriftel / Berlin 1996, ISBN 3-472-02709-6 .
  • Gert Geissler: Friedrich Adolph Wilhelm Diesterweg. (= Basic knowledge of pedagogy. Volume 6). Schneider, Hohengehren 2002, ISBN 3-89676-540-X .
  • Klaus Goebel : Whoever has the school has the future. (PDF; 5.1 MB) (= Dortmund works on school history and historical didactics. 25). Brockmeyer, Bochum 1995.
  • Alexander Hesse: Adolph Diesterweg (1790–1866). A memory on the occasion of the 140th anniversary of death. In: Yearbook for regional history 11. Ed. Geschichtswerkstatt Siegen - Working group for regional history. Siegen 2006, pp. 69-88.
  • Gerd Hohendorf, Horst F. Rupp (Hrsg.): Diesterweg: Pedagogy - teacher training - educational policy. Deutscher Studien Verlag, Weinheim 1990, ISBN 3-89271-214-X .
  • Lotte Köhler: The reform pedagogue Adolph Diesterweg. Psychoanalytic reflections on his biography. Edited by Horst F. Rupp. Psychosozial-Verlag, Giessen 2016, ISBN 978-3-8379-2582-1 .
  • Albert RebleDiesterweg, Friedrich Adolf Wilhelm. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 3, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1957, ISBN 3-428-00184-2 , p. 666 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Horst F. Rupp : Religion and its didactics at Ms. AW Diesterweg. A chapter in the history of religious didactics in the 19th century . Beltz-Verlag, Weinheim 1987, ISBN 3-89271-007-4 .
  • Horst F. Rupp: Mrs. AW Diesterweg. Pedagogy and Politics. Muster-Schmidt Verlag, Göttingen / Zurich 1989, ISBN 3-7881-0137-7 .
  • Horst F. Rupp: "Every teacher - a religion teacher". Religion and its didactics with Mrs.AW Diesterweg. A chapter in the history of religious didactics in the 19th century. 2nd, supplemented edition. Verlag Königshausen & Neumann, 2016, ISBN 978-3-8260-6009-0 .
  • Horst F. Rupp: Focus on Diesterweg. Educational and school history contributions. Ergon-Verlag, Würzburg 2017, ISBN 978-3-95650-246-0 .
  • Schneider:  Diesterweg, Adolf . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 5, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1877, pp. 150-153.
  • Henning Schüler u. a. (Ed.): Adolph Diesterweg. Knowledge on the move . Catalog for the exhibition for the 200th birthday, Deutscher Studienverlag, Weinheim 1990, ISBN 3-89271-243-3 .

Web links

Commons : Adolph Diesterweg  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Adolph Diesterweg  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. Rainer Assmann , Ernst Napp and Ingo Nordmeyer: Die Tübinger Rhenanen (corps list and corps history) , 5th edition 2002, p. 380.
  2. ^ Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Wilberg in the Lexicon of Westphalian Authors ; Volkmar Wittmütz: Johann Friedrich Wilberg (1766–1846), educator. In: Portal Rheinische Geschichte , Landschaftsverband Rheinland , November 14, 2016.
  3. ^ Andreas W. Daum: Science popularization in the 19th century. Civil culture, scientific education and the German public, 1848–1914 . Oldenbourg, Munich 2002, p. 61, 268, 483 .
  4. ^ Siegerländer Heimatverein (ed.): Siegerländer Heimatkalender from 1969. Verlag für Heimatliteratur, p. 113.
  5. ^ A b Winfried Boehm: History of Pedagogy. Beck, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-406-50853-7 , p. 109.
  6. ^ Winfried Böhm: History of Pedagogy. Beck, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-406-50853-7 , pp. 109-110.
  7. Hans Graßl, Phillip Becher: The end of an honor grave. Adolph Diesterweg fought for the ideal of broad popular education. (PDF; 352 kB) In: Siegener Zeitung. December 3, 2011, p. 43.
  8. Gisela von Auer, Anna Gögelein, Stephan M. Huebner, Hanna Gebre: The Diesterweg grant for children and their parents. Suggestions, principles and standards for a transfer. Polytechnic Society Foundation, Frankfurt am Main 2014, Appendix p. 53.
  9. ^ Franz Lerner: Citizenship and Citizenship. History of the Frankfurt Polytechnic Society 1816–1966. Waldemar Kramer Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1966, p. 57.